What does “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” have to do with Christmas anyway?
Remember Mr. Rogers’ cozy and friendly neighborhood from early TV, where all children felt safe and secure? On one program, Mr. Rogers gave his young listeners a means to move past fears and find hope. “Look for helpers,” Mr. Rogers exclaimed. “These are good people who do nice things for you in times of trouble.” Then he added, “And through their caring and helpful manner they bring hope.’”
The Church’s Advent season is ready to begin. It signals believers that the era of gloom and darkness is about to fade into a new period of hope. And as Mr. Rogers related, Advent has many caring helpers who bring hope. They are the helpers who make the Christmas story we all love so much, happen.
Advent readings begin describing expectations of a messiah born from King David’s family. This descendant of David will be a “just shoot from David’s lineage” doing “what is right to help bring” deliverance for God’s chosen people.
This flawless king from David’s tree will scatter the darkness after an unknown Virgin named Mary who is from Nazareth responds Yes to the angel Gabriel’s request that she be the Messiah’s mother.
Mary’s birth of the long-waited Messiah causes great rejoicing among God’s chosen people. Hope is restored for this Messiah has erased their sinful mistake and reconciled them to His Father in heaven. Mr. Rogers is correct when he says, “Look for helpers! These are good people.”
Following the line of King David’s family, Mary and her husband Joseph put aside their own dreams to help the Messiah, Jesus, gather and reclaim his created brothers and sisters giving all a new destiny. These courageous helpers brought needed Good News to a troubled world.
And just as Mr. Rogers told his young TV audience, even in troubled times good and caring people still live in our world offering hope. This Advent look for this same hope no farther than your own nativity scene.